UMW Toyota has launched the latest generation of Toyota Camry to Malaysian market at the end of last week. Codenamed XV50, the new Camry wears an all-new outlook both to the interior and exterior, and received one new set of drivetrain too. This time around for the 7th generation, Toyota Camry is assembled locally, as opposed to Thai-CBU for the XV40 generation. Like the previous generation too, Toyota is offering two variants for the 2.0L, namely 2.0E and 2.0G. The range topper is now 2.5V, displacing the previous flagship 2.4V. Prices are RM149,900, RM157,900 and RM180,900 respectively for the variant listed above.
Compared to the current XV40 Toyota Camry, it seems that Toyota has goes for another major shift in styling philosophy again. Some are deemed progression while some are not so. The XV50 Camry has eschewed the current car detailing, instead leaving a spartan-kind of look. The front end is dominated by the angular hood leading edge that is very sharp, lending a strong presence, majestic even. This is accentuates further by the strong edgy headlamp and a prestigious looking radiator grille. Toyota has put some effort is cheering up the grille by incorporating some indenting on the outer edge of the slats, giving it a more chiselled look.
The rear end meanwhile has ditched the current car shapely taillight. In comes a relatively simple item, with simple internals too. At least, the clear lens part is aligned with the trunk lid garnish, unlike our home grown Preve. Anyway, despite the look, it is actually LED item. There is also a faint character line running along the belt line of the door, continues until near the taillight before splitting into two, one that dives down along the taillight housing towards the bumper, while the other one joins the trunk lip edge. The rear end can somehow me summarized as quite simplistic in looks with minimum garnishing to spice up the look. Judging by the target market of the Camry, it is considered as an OK move.
In terms of dimension, the new Camry is 4,825mm long, 1,825mm wide and 1,470mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,775mm. Compared to the old Camry, the new one is 5mm wider while the rest of other exterior dimension is carried over. Despite the similar dimension with its predecessor, the new car is more spacious inside such as 13mm more rear legroom, thanks to repackaged cabin and re-sculpted seat back. Boot volume now stands at 515L, which is 11L more than before.
In chassis department, the new Camry rides on a rehashed platform, so it continues to ride on McPherson struts up front and dual-link at the back. Braking is assured by the ventilated disc at the front, while the rear wheel is stopped by the solid disc. Power steering is electrically-assisted item for an added economy and efficiency. The 2.0L car is shod with 215/60 R16 while the range topper 2.5V is loaded with 215/55 R17 tyres and rim combo.
In terms powertrain, the new Camry range is a mixture of an outgoing (which already can be said even the XV40) and the new. The range starter is 2.0L 1AZ-FE engine punching out a trusty 148PS@6,000rpm and 190Nm@4,000rpm of power and torque. The drive is channelled via the antique 4 speed automatic gearbox. I honestly think if Toyota really needs to contain the cost, they should reconsider using the older 3 speed auto, drum brakes and material colored bumper! On the brighter side, the range topper is powered by a new 2AR-FE 2,494cc 4 cylinder engine. Kicking out 181PS@6,000rpm of power and healthy 231Nm of torque at 4,100rpm, this version is mated to 2012-spec 6 speed automatic transmission. More details and photo after the jump.
Now comes the most interesting part, the interior where those buyer will spent most of their time in. Unfortunately, as an automotive engineer, I failed to say that the new Camry is luxuriously designed inside. First of all, lets congratulate Toyota stylist and design engineer (particularly the one handling the material grade selection) because Toyota did attempt to lift the ambiance of the cabin, despite the use of hard plastic all around. The interplay of wood trim, dark plastic with good texture, silver painted strip (audio sides, side aircond duct and power window switch panel), beige panel and comfy leather (on 2.0G onwards), at least on visual term the new cabin is very pleasing, soothing even. The dashboard top panel even comes with stitching-look alike to an added luxury measures. But it is not the real deal. Knock on it and it is a hard plastic. I can't help from feeling that Toyota (as the rest of the global OEM) is under pressure to maintain the car BOM cost despite the increased in raw material. So this is what we get, such as the totally flat centre console. Check out the storage box behind the gear console. It is simply a flat panel, square aperture with silly-looking opening bit. In previous incarnation, this panel is curved, the storage door is curved too, with spring action and the press-area is usually an embossed item with silver lining. So for 2012, this is the new expensive. How ashamed!
However, the new Camry is as spacious as before. The rear legroom in particular is great, and comfortable too thanks to well-sculpted seat and comfort is further supplied by the rear aircond outlet. Despite the material quality, the appearance (saved for the for boxy storage box mentioned earlier) is first rate, and looks every bit as the executive Toyota.
Equipment level can be considered as competitive, particularly compared to nemesis Honda Accord. Cabin color now mirrors those on Accord too, with the entry level 2.0E gets beige trim in fabric, while the 2.0G gets a sportier black trim. The 2.5V however bucks Accord trend by opting for more luxuriously-oriented beige leather. Speaking of seats, the 2.0E has manual operated seat adjustment, while the more expensive sibling is electrically powered for both driver and passenger.
However, one thing that bugged this author the most is the bodykit on current Toyota car. They look like an afterthought item, with fake inlet, blackened out vanes and simply fasten on the top of the existing bumper, regardless of whatever behind the appendage. Think about Perodua Myvi Extreme skirting glued on the top of Myvi SE bumpers and hence the need to fake the inlet in order to prevent from the bumper behind it to be seen, and you won't stray far. But this is RM180k car we are talking about here, which make the matters more daft.
Have a look yourself of the body kit below. While the rear skirting is forgiveable, the front skirting is simply S. Look at how the bulky skirt sits on the bumper, and how the supposed-inlet is not pass-through. It is "Bengness" to the max. Pity though. Some uncle somehow will still opt for this, despite the RM2,700 premium charged by Toyota. Hollow-blind premium perception by opting for accessories? You bet.
Toyota Camry 2.5V
|The dashboard of 2.5V, comes standard with 6.1" touch screen audio, centre console looks premium, steering comes with wood insert|
|It is a fake stitching on the dash top mind you|
|The storage slot in beige that I was rambling about. Noticed how flat the floor console now. Talk about rising tooling cost. This panel should be like those with wooden trim, at least with chromed opener lining.|
|The cupholders and nice gear console|
|Excellent interplay of material color, texture and layout. Silver lining and stitch-look lend premium touch|
|Obviously this is a glovebox|
|The front left door trim. Intense-effort in making it looks expensive. But I found hard plastic abound.|
|Door inside handle is equipped with soothing ambience lighting in 2.5V|
|Rear left door trim. Look at the bottom door pocket. The rest is Toyota material interplay at best.|
|Black cabin. Looks quite cohesive in monotone breaks by silver lining and wooden insert.|
|Black touch lends more premium look in my personal taste book|
|The 2.5L lump. The new Camry comes with gas spring boot holder|
|The old 2.0L engine housed in the new Camry body|
|The real front bumper without the daft skirting, nice chrome touch.|